US

Johns Hopkins professor says CDC school guidelines are flawed and being used to stall reopening

Dr. Marty Makary, pictured, says new CDC school guidelines are scientifically flawed and being used by the Biden administration to stall reopening and appease teacher’s unions

A Johns Hopkins professor says new CDC school guidelines are scientifically flawed and being used by the Biden administration to stall reopening and appease teacher’s unions.

Dr. Marty Makary pointed to ‘overly burdensome recommendations’ which ‘defy science’ to create what he argues are ‘testing and distancing requirements so extreme it makes consistent in-person learning unachievable for the vast majority of schools in America today’. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rolled out its long awaited guidance on school reopenings last week, recommending universal mask usage and social distancing but not vaccination. 

Recommended measures include hand washing, disinfection of school facilities, diagnostic testing and contact tracing to find new infections and separate infected people from others in a school. It’s also more emphatic than past guidance on the need to wear masks in school. 

Writing for Fox News Dr Makary said: ‘Many believe what is really happening is that the Biden administration is outwardly calling for schools to be open but behind the scenes accommodating teachers’ unions by subtly stalling on implementing a re-opening.

‘Defying science, the guidelines create testing and distancing requirements so extreme it makes consistent in-person learning unachievable for the vast majority of schools in America today.

‘If we are really listening to the science, it tells us that more kids die when schools are closed than when they are open. I suggest that local schools skip the most restrictive parts of the CDC’s guidelines if they cannot be implemented in favor of in-person learning now.’ 

His comments came on the day 2,616 more COVID-19 deaths were recorded with a further 67,000 Americans testing positive for the virus. A total of 62,300 are currently hospitalized; the seven day rolling is 66,214. 

The seven day rolling average deaths – 1,998 – fell below 2,000 for the first time since December 4; that number more than 3,000 as recently as February 6. 

Republicans have also attacked the White House over its school reopening policy, claiming the administration is listening more to the teachers unions than science. 

‘It’s clear the Biden Administration’s policy is “follow the teachers unions”—not “follow the science,”‘ wrote Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, a member of House GOP leadership, on twitter.  

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis also attacked Democrats for ‘putting politics and special interests ahead of what the evidence and observed experience says.’

He also claimed the administration was listening to the teachers’ unions instead of the science, saying the White House is ‘putting politics ahead of what’s right for kids.’  

Makary pointed to 'overly burdensome recommendations' which 'defy science' to create what he argues are 'testing and distancing requirements so extreme it makes consistent in-person learning unachievable for the vast majority of schools in America today'. Students and parents holding placards during a car rally to encourage Los Angeles County to reopen schools

Makary pointed to ‘overly burdensome recommendations’ which ‘defy science’ to create what he argues are ‘testing and distancing requirements so extreme it makes consistent in-person learning unachievable for the vast majority of schools in America today’. Students and parents holding placards during a car rally to encourage Los Angeles County to reopen schools 

Republicans have also claimed the administration is listening more to the teachers unions than science

Republicans have also claimed the administration is listening more to the teachers unions than science

A total of 2,616 more COVID-19 deaths were recorded with a further 67,000 Americans testing positive for the virus. A total of 62,300 are currently hospitalized; the seven day rolling is 66,214. The seven day rolling average deaths - 1,998 - fell below 2,000 for the first time since December 4; that number more than 3,000 as recently as February 6

A total of 2,616 more COVID-19 deaths were recorded with a further 67,000 Americans testing positive for the virus. A total of 62,300 are currently hospitalized; the seven day rolling is 66,214. The seven day rolling average deaths – 1,998 – fell below 2,000 for the first time since December 4; that number more than 3,000 as recently as February 6

Dr Makary added: ‘Kids are at the lowest risk of COVID-19 death and least likely to transmit the virus. But they are being deprived of their livelihood by being shut out of school.

‘Adults are at higher risk of death and transmission. But the CDC has no problems allowing them to sit shoulder-to-shoulder for hours on airplanes or go to restaurants, casinos and bowling alleys. 

He pointed to an uptick in suicide among children, increased domestic violence, kids not getting school meals and growing substance abuse as evidence ‘the guidelines are dismissive of data showing the harm of ongoing school closures’. 

Dr Makary added: ‘These problems may not be evident to wealthy autocrats working remotely in mansions. But in places like inner-city Baltimore, closed schools can have brutal health consequences.’

‘There’s no scientific reason kids, who are lowest risk, should be dead last when it comes to school. It’s nothing short of age discrimination because kids don’t have a voice,’ he added.   

Teacher unions want vaccinations for educators before classes resume in person while the administration said that is a ‘priority’ and not a requirement. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed the Republicans’ criticism when asked about at her press briefing on Thursday.

‘Kids are not Democrats or Republicans,’ she said. ‘The president wants schools to open, five days a week. He wants kids to be in school. Teachers want kids to be in school, and he also believes that teachers should be prioritized.’

First grade students sit at social distanced desks at the Green Mountain School on February 18 in Woodland, Washington

First grade students sit at social distanced desks at the Green Mountain School on February 18 in Woodland, Washington

Makary pointed to an uptick in suicide among children, increased domestic violence, kids not getting school meals and growing substance abuse as evidence 'the guidelines are dismissive of data showing the harm of ongoing school closures'

Makary pointed to an uptick in suicide among children, increased domestic violence, kids not getting school meals and growing substance abuse as evidence ‘the guidelines are dismissive of data showing the harm of ongoing school closures’

 The White House had deepened the confusion on the school reopening process Wednesday with statements that vaccination for teachers are a ‘priority’ but not required.

The final decision, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, is up to the states.  

Psaki faced repeated questions on the administration’s policy on school openings as the White House has been asked to clarify its standing on the issue after neither President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris would give a direct response when asked about teacher vaccinations.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s top infectious disease expert, said it would be ‘non-workable’ for every teacher to get vaccinated before schools reopen. 

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is pictured

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is pictured 

The subject has become a national debate as kids continue to hold classes online due to the coronavirus pandemic, school districts look to resume in-person classes and teachers express concern about their safety.

As the administration pushes for schools to resume in person, teachers’ unions have demanded access to vaccines before returning to the classroom. And the Education Department is in want of a leader during this as Biden’s nominee for education secretary, Miguel Cardona, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.  

Psaki had seemed to dramatically scale back the administration’s goal of reopening half of U.S. schools by the end of the president’s first 100 days. She suggested open could mean only one day a week.

‘His goal that he set is to have the majority of schools — so, more than 50% — open by day 100 of his presidency,’ Psaki said during a press conference last week. ‘And that means some teaching in classrooms. So, at least one day a week. Hopefully, it’s more.’

Her comment attracted criticism because the bar was so low.

‘The administration doesn’t have to exert much effort to meet this goal,’ Jonathan Butcher, an education fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told the Associated Press.

Biden clarified Wednesday evening that the goal is to get kids back in the classroom five-days-a-week and said schools might even opt to push classes into the summer ‘like it’s a different semester.’

When CNN’s Anderson Cooper mentioned the one-day-a-week caveat, Biden pushed back.

‘No, that’s not true,’ Biden said, explaining that the actual administration goal was getting kids in classrooms closer to full-time.            

Teachers´ unions have said they support reopening schools once officials are able to make the buildings safer, but they need the $130 billion included in Biden’s proposed American Rescue Plan to make it happen.

Dan Domenech, executive director of the School Superintendents Association, said teachers are willing to go back to in-person learning ‘only if this bill is passed, only if the dollars get to the school districts in time for them to be able to do the work that they need to do in terms of spacing, in terms of sanitizing, and only if we get the majority of our teachers vaccinated.’

Biden clarified Wednesday evening that the goal is to get kids back in the classroom five-days-a-week and said schools might even opt to push classes into the summer 'like it's a different semester'

Biden clarified Wednesday evening that the goal is to get kids back in the classroom five-days-a-week and said schools might even opt to push classes into the summer ‘like it’s a different semester’

Biden is now caught between teachers´ unions expressing caution towards his expanded goal on reopening, and critics who say classes need to resume in person.  

Data from Burbio, a service that tracks school opening plans, recently reported that 66% of K-12 students already are learning in-person to some degree.

‘In places across America where public education depends on the whims of a powerful public sector union, the best interests of children have often come dead last,’ Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, said during a floor speech earlier this month. ‘As the months have rolled by and the data have poured in, it´s become clear that schools can open safely.’

‘An administration that puts facts and science first would be conducting a full-court press to open schools,’ McConnell said.

Part of what’s contributing to the confusion, according to National Education Association President Becky Pringle, is that there’s no one-size-fits-all program that schools can implement to meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on how to safely reopen.

‘It was an acknowledgment that every school has different challenges in meeting those guidelines,’ Pringle said, noting that implementing social distancing guidelines, for example, would be a different challenge in crowded urban schools than it would be in more sparsely attended rural schools.’


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button